TALE (transcription activator-like effector) proteins can be tailored to bind to any DNA sequence of choice and thus are of immense utility for genome editing and the specific delivery of transcription activators. However, to perform these functions, they need to occupy their sites in chromatin. In the present study, we have systematically assessed TALE binding to chromatin substrates and find that in vitro TALEs bind to their target site on nucleosomes at the more accessible entry/exit sites, but not at the nucleosome dyad. We show further that in vivo TALEs bind to transcriptionally repressed chromatin and that transcription increases binding by only 2-fold. These data therefore imply that TALEs are likely to bind to their target in vivo even at inactive loci.

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